FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – The Fall River City Council plans to meet Tuesday night to discuss a possible vote on the removal of Mayor Jasiel Correia after he was arrested for the second time in less than a year Friday.
The council is expected to discuss steps to be taken to remove Correia from office after he was accused by federal prosecutors of trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana vendors.
Hours after a judge released Correia on $25,000 bond, Fall River Council President Cliff Ponte submitted a letter to the city clerk’s office calling for Correia’s resignation.
“[Y]ou have utilized the power of your position for personal monetary gain through several alleged schemes, three of which are outright theft of city funds,” Ponte said. “I believe now is the time that you really do what is best for Fall River and temporarily step aside from your duties as Mayor of the City of Fall River.”
Correia posted a letter Monday evening responding to Ponte on his Facebook page, saying, “I would like to extend the offer that in the immediate future and on a voluntary basis, the City Council President or Vice President have the opportunity to ‘co-sign’ official documents as an additional level of comfort for the Council,” he explained. “As City Council President, this affords you to assure the public that all city business is being reviewed, approved and conducted in accordance with local ordinances and state and federal requirements.”
It is unclear if the council will actually take a vote on removing Correia from office. Councilman Steven Camara told Target 12 he would object to such a motion and push back a vote to next week.
The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Fall River Government Center.
This meeting comes just one week before Correia is set to face two rivals, Paul Coogan and Erica Scott-Pacheco, during the city’s preliminary mayoral election on Sept. 17. Two of the three candidates will move on to the general election Nov. 5.
Last year, Correia was arrested on federal fraud charges connected to his startup SnoOwl, which is now defunct. His trial on those charges had been scheduled to start in February prior to Friday’s new indictment.